Tag Archives: Johan Huizinga quotes

The Essence Behind Things

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“A new culture can only grow up in the soil of a purged humanity.”

“The modern city hardly knows a pure darkness or true silence anymore, nor does it know the effect of a single small light or that of a lonely distant shout.”

“You can deny, if you like, nearly all abstractions: justice, beauty, truth, goodness, mind, God. You can deny seriousness, but not play.”

“Play is a uniquely adaptive act, not subordinate to some other adaptive act, but with a special function of its own in human experience.”

“If a serious statement is defined as one that may be made in terms of waking life, poetry will never rise to the level of seriousness. It lies beyond seriousness, on that more primitive and original level where the child, the animal, the savage, and the seer belong, in the region of dream, enchantment, ecstasy, laughter. To understand poetry we must be capable of donning the child’s soul like a magic cloak and of forsaking man’s wisdom for the child’s.”

“Every age yearns for a more beautiful world. The deeper the desperation and the depression about the confusing present, the more intense that yearning.”

“History is the interpretation of the significance that the past has for us.”

“Educators are aware that they can reach the youth only by making use of gang spirit and guiding it, not by working against it.”

“Culture must have its ultimate aim in the metaphysical or it will cease to be culture.”

“The second fundamental feature of culture is that all culture has an element of striving.”

“Revolution as an ideal concept always preserves the essential content of the original thought: sudden and lasting betterment.”

“Most thoughtful Americans of today seem to have forgotten how strongly their own and immediate predecessors, Emerson, Hawthorne and Whitman, were still preoccupied with the essence behind things.”

All quotes by Johan Huizinga

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